The relationship between anxiety, personality characteristics, and working memory performance

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
William Jason Peters (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Bruce Henderson

Abstract: The relationship between anxiety and working memory capacity (WMC) andperformance is a widely researched topic in the field of psychology. Typically, anxiety has anegative effect on working memory performance (Coy, O’Brien, Tabaczynski, Northern, &Carels, 2011). However, the direction of the relationship between anxiety and working memoryis somewhat poorly understood. Test anxiety, a form of state anxiety, has also been shown tonegatively impact working memory performance. In addition, personality impacts all aspects ofhuman behavior. Therefore, it is realistic to expect personality to have an impact on anxiety. Infact, many studies have established an association between job characteristics and anxiety andpersonality characteristics such as neuroticism. The purpose of the present study was toinvestigate and examine the relationship between anxiety, personality, and working memoryperformance. There were 45 participants, all of whom were students at Western CarolinaUniversity. The Beck Anxiety Inventory – Trait Version and Reactions to Tests inventory wereboth used to gather information on the participants’ levels of anxiety. The M5-120, which isbased on the FFM of personality, was used to gather information on the participants’ personality.Automated Complex Span Tasks were used to gather information on that participants’ working memory performance. Findings revealed significant relationships between gender and workingmemory performance and RTT scores as well as between type of instructions and BAIT scores.Findings also revealed significant relationships between RTT scores and working memoryperformance, BAIT scores, and the Neuroticism domain. Furthermore, findings revealedsignificant relationships between the Neuroticism domain and BAIT scores, the Extraversiondomain, and the Agreeableness domain. A significant relationship was also revealed between theOpenness to Experience domain and BAIT scores. Lastly, two multiple regression models werestatistically significant in their ability to predict working memory performance using RTT scoresalone, and RTT scores and the Conscientiousness domain as predictors. This study suggests thatboth anxiety and personality play a role in working memory performance but additional researchis needed to further explore this relationship.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
anxiety, personality, working memory
Short-term memory -- Psychological aspects
Anxiety -- Psychological aspects

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